10 May 2015

Nicholson on the verge of title

12:21 pm on 10 May 2015

Andrew Nicholson is another step closer to claiming his first-ever Badminton Horse Trials after holding on to his number one slot after the latest day of cross country.

Andrew Nicholson.

Andrew Nicholson. Photo: AFP

New Zealander Jock Paget and Clifton Lush sit in fifth, with Nicholson up from 12th to seventh aboard his own Calico Joe.

Sir Mark Todd has moved from 15th to ninth on Leonidas II, and Paget has slipped from sixth to 10th on Clifton Promise after picking up time faults.

Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy sit just out side the top 10, shot up from 30th to 12th after their brilliant clear round inside time, while his wife Jonelle was also on the move with The Deputy, leaping from 33rd to 15th.

Nicholson and Nereo finished a second inside the optimum time in a real master class of riding over the Guiseppe Della Chiesa's designed track.

"It was superb. I made a conscious effort to make sure I jumped every single fence this year," said Nicholson, who guided both his horses home clear and inside the time allowed.

He and Nereo had a little moment coming out of the water complex, but Nicholson says it was just the spurt both of them needed.

"That little chip up the bank coming out of the water helped me a lot," he said.

"It got him very switched on to making sure he was jumping everything in front of him. He might not be as fast as most horses, but he is very fit and doesn't stop."